Start-Up Allegany Pitch Competition Winners

Think Orange AgTech from Houghton College, with team members Stephen Harper with a Major in Business, and Micah Condie with a Major in Physics & Computer Science, are the winners of the inaugural Start-Up Allegany Pitch Competition that was held on Saturday, April 10, 2021. The event had been originally planned for 2020, but like so many things, was canceled when COVID hit. Despite the need to maintain social distancing in place and taking the event online rather than postponing it any further, it turned out to be a flawless success for everyone involved. 

“Event planning can be complex with all its moving parts; add a pandemic into the mix and you’ve got a new kind of event to plan,” said Ashleigh Madison, Program Director for IncubatorWorks. “The partners that helped to plan this virtual pitch competition, helped make it a success. We are thankful for the sponsorships for superb cash prizes and the level of professionalism and caliber of pitches was top notch. I am so proud of the college students at AU, ASC, and Houghton,” she said, “and can’t wait to see what we can plan together next.”.

After their impressive pitch and successful win, Think Orange AgTech shared the following, “We thank IncubatorWorks and everyone responsible for making the first-ever Startup Allegany Collegiate Competition a reality. It was an honor and a privilege to participate in such an incredible event.”

Micah Condie and Stephen Harper of ThinkOrange Ag Tech

IncubatorWorks had the opportunity to interview the winning team and get more insight from their experience participating in the inaugural event.

IncubatorWorks: “Can you explain to our readers what your project goals are?”

ThinkOrange: “Our goal is to close the technology gap between small and large farms by providing cost-effective drone analysis. By flying a drone over a field, spectral data can be collected providing valuable insights into a farmer’s crop. Once this data is collected, it will be processed and given to the customer. This data would indicate where pesticides and fertilizers should be applied. This drone data is proven to increase crop yield significantly.”

IW: “What are you most looking forward to doing next with your winnings?”

TO: “We are in the early stages of development for this idea, so we are still figuring out what our business will look like going forward.”

IW: “What can we expect to see in the next coming months ThinkOrange?”

TO: “We plan to conduct further research this summer and perhaps attend events such as the Allegany county fair.”

IW: “What was your biggest taking away from the pitch competition experience?”

TO: “Through this competition, we have learned what it means to create and pitch a business idea. The hands-on experience in entrepreneurship we gained as well as the knowledge acquired from our experienced mentors was our biggest takeaway.”

IW: “And lastly, what advice would give to fellow entrepreneurs looking to pitch their ideas?”

TO: “Be sure you are enthusiastic about your product or service. This enthusiasm will motivate your work, and show through to others.”

The pitch event was launched by Startup Allegany and was the County’s first tri-collegiate business plan competition. An exciting and immersive experience into the world of startups, the competition provided collegiate teams from each school, Alfred State College, Alfred University, and Houghton College, with an opportunity to take an idea focused on sustainability in Allegany County and build it into a viable business plan.

Prizes ranged from $5000 for first place, $1000 for the second, and $500 for third, and the teams came prepared to compete.

Think Orange AgTech won first place for their innovative project. Innovere, from Alfred University, won second place for their unbreakable and self-cleaning glass drinking straw and Triboelectric Nanogenerator Mask, from Alfred State College, won third place for their development of electronic protective masks which generate energy using triboelectric nanogenerators when the person talks. The energy generated will be used to power a touching embedded temperature sensor, monitoring continuously the person’s body temperature as a fever symptom of Coronavirus.

Congratulations to all the winners! We are looking forward to seeing what you do next!

To view the full pitch competition, click on the video below: